Top Picks for Affordable Car Tech
Being thrifty is a breeze when you're clipping coupons, but when shopping for a new car with some sweet tech options, it's not always easy to find bargains. We've compiled a handful of affordable rides for under $25,000 with the must-have car tech to get you going.
We Heart Bluetooth
Imagining a Bluetooth-less car makes us shudder. Fortunately, the technology that allows for voice-activated and hands-free calling, streaming audio and text-messaging capability comes standard now, and you'll find it in a ton of 2014 and 2015 vehicles. It isn't just for those willing to shell out a ton of coin for a car, either. It's featured in the Dodge Dart SXT, Ford Focus SE, Mitsubishi Mirage and Nissan Versa. Fumbling for your phone to make a call is ancient history.
Where would we be without navigation systems? Sure, we can fire up Siri, but it's nice to have a dedicated system that isn't overwhelmed with our other daily tasks, such as scheduling conference calls or reminding us to drop off the kids at soccer practice. Systems like HondaLink (featured in the 2014 Civic) offer app-based platforms for smartphones that connect customers to online content in and out of the car, with its navigation component giving drivers updated traffic information, location search assistance and turn-by-turn routing guidance. Upcoming routes can be preplanned on a smartphone and will show up on a vehicle's touchscreen, making running errands a whole lot simpler. You'll also find navigation systems on the Ford Fiesta SEL (as part of the SYNC platform) and on the Nissan Versa.
We could all use another set of eyes for steering clear of road hazards, but they don't come cheap. Luckily, a handful of models come with reversing cameras, a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-path detection (the Dodge Dart SXT even comes with all three). The HondaLink Assist system notifies emergency services if airbags deploy, getting help to those in need in a superspeedy manner. If you opt for a Civic EX, you'll also get Honda's LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, which tells you what's happening on the right side of the car thanks to a camera mounted to the right side of the rearview mirror. And we'll all soon get a little help seeing behind us, with backup cameras becoming standard in all vehicles under 10,000 pounds by 2018. According to KidsAndCars, at least 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week in the United States. You'll find this life-saving tech in the Chevrolet Cruz, the Kia Soul hatchback and the Honda Accord.
Getting the latest car tech doesn't have to mean breaking the bank. Consider getting your ride decked out with the most useful technology features. Believe it or not, it can be done on a budget.